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Integrating evidence-based design and experience-based approaches in healthcare service design

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date01/2011
JournalHERD: Health Environments Research and Design Journal
Number of pages21
Original languageEnglish


Objective: To investigate the connections between, and respective contributions of, evidence-based and experience-based methods in the redesign of healthcare services.

Background: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) preceded (and inspired) the development of evidence-based design (EBD) for healthcare facilities. A key feature of debate around EBM has been the question of interpretation of the guidance by experienced clinicians, to achieve maximum efficacy for individual patients. This interpretation and translation of guidelines-avoiding a formulaic approach, allowing for divergent cultural and geographical exigencies, creating innovative, context-specific solutions-is the subject of this discussion, which examines the potential for integration of evidence-based and experience-based approaches in the development of creative solutions to healthcare services in England. This paper examines Practice-Based Commissioning (PBC) in England, which devolves responsibility for commissioning new services for patients to frontline clinicians, relying on their understanding of patient needs at the local level.

Methods: An 18-month project, funded by the Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC), examined PBC frameworks in England, investigating the impact of different models of governance on the development of service redesign proposals to answer the following questions: How do clinicians interpret the multiplicity of guidance from government agencies and translate this into knowledge that can be effectively used to redesign patient care pathways aligned with local healthcare priorities? How can understanding patient and staff “experiences” and key “touch points” of interaction with local healthcare services be used to provide a creative, customized solution to the design of healthcare services in a local, community-based framework?